Some Provocative Bits

A great deal of my reading is political in nature, so I have a vast backlog of links to interesting stuff I've read. Here's a selection:

I'm leading off with the article that actually inspired me today to get off my virtual ass and return to the site, because I want to know planetgal's reaction to it. Digby has been writing lately about police violence, with a particular focus on the phenomenon of people being essentially tortured (sometimes to death) with Tasers. However, the post I'm interested in today zooms in on a different, rather specific form of police aggression: it appears that in an encounter with today's trigger-happy cops, it is not too unlikely that they will shoot your dogs.

Not to diminish the horror of a loved one being electrocuted, but at least then there are likely to be some kind of repercussions. But I know several people, planetgal included, who love their dogs like children, so it's a bit striking that if a policeman guns them down essentially for sport they probably won't even feel the need to apologize.

Next topic: someone convinced the government to publish its policy on electronic searches at border crossings. The short version is, they can take your laptop, cell phone, or anything else "capable of storing information" down to the crumpled up receipts in your pockets. For all practical purposes, they never have to give it back, they will share the data with whomever they want, and they don't need a reason.

For this reason among others, I only cross borders with electronics I don't mind losing (I tend to inherit ancient laptops) and keep basically no information on them -- my files cross later via encrypted link (nothing but SSH) from my destination's wireless network. The exceptions are MP3s (which nobody cares about, I want on the plane, and would take too long to download from home anyway) on my player, and stuff like contacts on my cell phone (since I don't know of an easy way to wipe it and remotely restore that, anyway). But seriously, if you're trying to smuggle data in/out of the country, just tuck a SD card or similar in your pocket. They're so tiny now, it could almost certainly pass unnoticed.

On a related note, if I'm not mistaken in this Frontline interview an ex-NSA employee reveals what Bush/Cheney were doing that was so bad Ashcroft's deputies threatened to resign when they found out. Not to mention the fact that Bush was willing to deep-six necessary foreign intelligence revisions unless Congress included retroactive blanket immunity for the telcos that cooperated (and by extension for himself, since if they can't be investigated nobody will ever be able to prove what they did). Why the Democratic leadership rolled over for that one remains a mystery. I'll probably talk at greater length about this one later.

More generally there's been a lot written (here's a good example) this summer about restoring the rule of law and achieving accountability for those responsible for so degrading it -- the many followers of Bush and Cheney who enabled illegal spying, who committed torture, who tried to roll back democratic rights that our ancestors have guarded for the last thousand years. I'll tell you straight up right now, most of them, if confronted, are going to claim that they were just following orders.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on August 9, 2008 12:03 PM.

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